The Islamic Bulletin
The Islamic Bulletin
by Jamila Rufaro
He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood and the
flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been
invoked besides that of God... (Qur’an 2:173)
The Holy Qur’an prohibits us from eating pork in ayats 2:173,
5:4, 6:145 and 16:115. Avoiding pork in this country is difficult
because pork and pork by-products use a variety of names when
they are included in many of the foods and cosmetics we buy.
Did you know that glycerine is often made from pork and is
commonly used to make toothpaste and soap? This article will
focus on pork products that are commonly overlooked by people
who are trying to avoid pork.
Pork products are sometimes used to make snack foods such as
puddings, jello, chips, crackers, cookies, donuts and marshmal-
lows including marshmallow bits in cereal and hot cocoa. Pork
products are also found in some brands of cake frosting, cheese
spreads, yogurt, margarine, and ice cream.
Look for words like lard, animal fats, animal glyceride, hydro-
lyzed animal protein, enzymes, emulsifiers, monostearates,
mono and di-glyceride and gelatin on the label when you buy
these products. Dairy products such as whipped cream, sour
cream and cheese may also contain gelatin or rennet. Rennet is
an enzyme which turns milk solids into cheese. Animal rennet
is most often used.
Look for mono and di-glyceride (forms of glycerine), or enzymes
on the label. They may not all be made with pork but the only
way to know for sure is to contact the company or look for the Ko-
sher marking (K or U) on the label. Pork in the form of glycerine,
keratin, collagen and tallow are used in cosmetics and toiletries.
Some common ones that contain pork or pork by-products are
lipstick, shaving cream, toothpaste, had lotion, bath soap and
shampoos. Pork is also hidden in detergents, cleansers, dish
liquids, and soaps.
Some medications may also contain pork products; the most
common is the gelatin coated tablet of the gelatin capsule
(gelcaps). The Physicians Desk Reference is a reliable source that
we can refer to for the names, ingredients, indications, reactions
and brands of every prescription and non-prescription drug or
medication on the market.
Adapted from: ‘How Not to Eat Pork’ (or ‘Life Without the Pig’)
by Sharazad Ali, Civilized Publications, Philadelphia, 1985.
Beware of Pork in these Popular Brands:
Ivory soap, Colgate toothpaste, Nabisco cookies, Dryers ice
cream, Lucky Charms Cereal, Jergens Lotion, Carnation Coffee
Mate & Jello Pudding.
The miracle of the birth of Jesus was not one to challenge the
mistaken beliefs of a particular people. Rather, its purpose was
to stand as a testimony to God’s infinite might.
Another miracle, the purpose of which was not to challenge but
to show The Almighty incomparable power and control over the
lows of nature, was His parting of the Red Sea for Moses. The
followers of Moses had been trapped between the soldiers of
Pharaoh and the sea and were facing certain destruction.
But at this moment, when all natural indications pointed to
their inevitable doom, Moses still maintained his faith in The
Almighty’s power to intervene. Praying for divine intervention,
he then faced his followers and urged them not to despair or
lose faith in God’s providence saying:
“Nay, verily! For lo! My Lord is with me. He will guide me.”
(Qur’an al-Shu’ara 26:62)
With this appeal, Moses actually surrendered the whole affair to
The Almighty’s supreme will. This was at a moment when human
efforts to avoid annihilation was useless. Answering his appeal,
God inspired him to strike the water with his staff:
“Smite the sea with your staff. And it parted...” (Qur’an al-
The miracle defies all the known laws of physics which govern
liquids. The sea’s parting by Moses’ smiting of its surface cannot
be explained in terms of physics.
The only possible explanation for this miracle is in terms of the
absolute power of the Almighty, Who can simply “say unto a
thing ‘Be’, and it is”.
In contemplating these miraculous events which are, indeed,
acts of The Almighty, one often finds that the natural pattern that
had been interrupted to allow the miracle, returns to normality.
Thus the fire that was commanded to be as coolness and as
peace to Abraham regained its heat following the miracle’s
accomplishment. Likewise did the parted sea return to normal
after Moses and his followers had safely crossed it.
The miracle of the Qur’an, being God’s speech, draws its everlast-
ing validity and vitality from the eternal attributes of God Himself.
A second remarkable feature of God’s miracles with which He
supported His messengers, or used as portents of His supremacy
over creation, is that His agents were always from among the
weakest and most humble of His creatures on earth.
Having selected them, He then provided them with the power
to perform miracles which baffled and bewildered the minds
of those who witnessed them.
Because these tangible miracles were performed only once,
their impact was greatest on eye-witnesses. For those who had
not seen them, they were matters of hearsay which had they
not been affirmed in the Qur’an would have possibly been
It is sometimes said that scientific advancements might allow
man to duplicate such supernatural phenomena as miracles.
This assumption is indicative of man’s conceit and skeptical
Divine miracles will continue to challenge mankind until the
Day of Resurrection. No other mortal being could ever smite
the sea with a rod and cause it to part, as Moses did.
While arrogant people may contend that modern medicine is
capable of curing leprosy and restoring sight to the blind, nev-
ertheless none could achieve these cures by simply touching the
one inflicted as Jesus did. Still others may argue that nowadays
one can fly to Makkah and back more than once in a day.
But Muhammad (PBUH) on his Night Journey was not trans-
ported to Jerusalem in a plane, and no one apart from him has
been able to levitate unaided by mechanical means. Despite
man’s tremendous advancements in space exploration no one
has yet been able to depict the first heaven, let alone that
This power was exhibited in the miracle performed by the small
birds during the attack on the Ka’bah by Abraha’s army with its
elephant. The enormity of this miracle was so confusing and
perplexing to the intellect that it engendered some doubt in the
minds of some later believers who read about it in the Qur’an.
Some scientists found it too difficult to understand and tried to
account for the destruction of the elephant and Abraha’s army
by hypothesizing that the birds might have been carriers of in-
fectious diseased that caused the death of the marauding army.
All this is but mere conjecture, because as we have said earli-
er, there were eye-witnesses on the day of the incursion, and
they would certainly have ridiculed Muhammad (SAW) if the
revelation he imparted to them had been false.
God bestowed the same divine power upon Moses, enabling
him to part the sea.
It was likewise bestowed upon Jesus enabling him to cure the
leper and the blind and revive the dead. He gave Abraham the
power to revivify when He commanded him to cut a bird in
pieces, put each piece on a separate hill top, the call the bird
back. When it heard his call it came to him.
We must, however, understand that all that Abraham did was
to call the bird and that it was God Who permitted the miracle
What does all this imply? The analogy is true as far as all hu-
man interaction is concerned. We should not wonder when we
witness an oppressor being overcome by a weak or helpless
person, or when the defiant are broken down by natural causes.
It is a reminder to all of us that God never slumbers and that
His divine justice, thought it may come late, never fails to be
The very name alchemy as well as its derivative chemistry comes
from the Arabic al-kimiya. The Muslims mastered Alexandrian
and even certain elements of Chinese alchemy and very early
in their history, produced their greatest alchemist, Jabir ibn
Hayyan (the Latin Geber) who lived in the 8th century.
Putting the cosmological and symbolic aspects of alchemy aside,
one can assert that this art led to much experimentation with
various materials and in the hands of Muhammad ibn Zakariyya
al-Razi was converted into the science of chemistry.
To this day certain chemical instruments such as the alembic
(al-anbiq) still bears their original names and the mercury-sul-
phur theory of Islamic alchemy remains as the foundation of
the acid-base theory of chemistry.
Al-Razi’s division of materials into animal, vegetable and min-
eral is still prevalent and a vast body of knowledge of materials
accumulated by Islamic alchemists and chemists has survived
over centuries in both East and West. He used alcohol as an
antiseptic in the 10th century.
For example the use of dyes in objects of Islamic art ranging
from carpets to miniatures or the making of glass have much
to do with this branch of learning which the West learned
completely from Islamic sources since alchemy was not studied
and practiced in the West before the translation of Arabic texts
into Latin in the 11th century.